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PRE GAME vs. Detroit

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets


Nikita Nikitin

Now that the NHL trading deadline has passed, the Blue Jackets and interim head coach Todd Richards can look forward to the final leg of the season. The home stretch beings tonight against the Detroit Red Wings, who are going to be without a handful of their top players when they meet the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom and recently-acquired Kyle Quincey will not play tonight, meaning youngster Brendan Smith draws in to play with Niklas Kronwall.

Doug Janik was recalled from Grand Rapids (AHL) this afternoon and he’s projected to play alongside Ian White. Joey MacDonald, who owns a 4-1-1 career record against Columbus, starts in goal for the Red Wings. Curtis Sanford is expected to make his second consecutive start for the Blue Jackets.

Darryl Boyce, claimed off waivers by the Blue Jackets over the weekend, will make his club debut this evening.

Here is the expected Red Wings lineup for tonight’s game:

Zetterberg Filpula Hudler
Bertuzzi Abdelkader Cleary
Franzen Helm Miller
Holtmstrom Emmerton Mursak
Kindl Stuart
Kronwall Smith
White Janik

Here is the expected Blue Jackets lineup for tonight’s game:

Umberger Brassard Nash
Prospal Letestu Atkinson
Russell Boyce Dorsett
Gillies MacKenzie Johansen
J. Johnson Wisniewski
Tyutin Nikitin
Lebda Moore

  1. Puck management: Richards was not pleased with the way his team managed the puck against the Penguins, and said turnovers fed into Pittsburgh’s offense in the third period. The same goes when you play Detroit – the Blue Jackets have to make smart decisions with the puck and be cautious between the blue lines.
  2. Use the energy from the new guys: Boyce and Jack Johnson will play their first games at Nationwide Arena tonight, and it will surely provide a boost of energy throughout the lineup. The Blue Jackets need to use that early in the game and use it to build a lead.
  3. Put the past behind you: Some players admitted that the speculation leading up to the trade deadline had an effect on their play, and with that pressure off, they hope their play will reflect that. If they can get their skating legs going and force the Red Wings to turn pucks over, Columbus will get chances.

Richards, on moving forward after the trade deadline:
“It’s another thing that can bring you together. I think we’ve had lots of adversity to deal with this year. This was just another obstacle…whenever you deal with these types of things, it does tend to bring people and teammates together.”

Richards, on facing another top team this evening: “I think we’re a committed team. It’s going to be no different tonight… keeping the game tight, we’re going to need key saves at the right time. It’s not a team that we want to be chasing.”

Here are some tips for fans attending the game at Nationwide Arena tonight:

• Doors will open tonight at 6:00 p.m. for the 7:08 p.m. puck drop.

• It's another $10,000 Tuesday! Tonight, 20 lucky fans will win an iPAD2. Look for the signs upon entering the arena, and text TUESDAY to 95323.

• The Blue Jackets take the ice around 6:30 p.m. for pre-game warm-ups. Interested in their pre-game play list? Check out the scoreboard or follow @CBJ_DJ on twitter.

• If you haven’t ventured to Chef’s Corner across from Section 108 – you’re missing signature sandwiches from the Nationwide Arena chef’s. The Chef’s make them to order – guaranteeing a delicious bite from start to finish.

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